In the middle is a battle of five teams.
The new season starts in F-1 – and it is intriguing! After all, after the winter and pre-season tests (which lasted only three days in Bahrain), there were many questions. For example, in the paddock they are talking about a possible change of positions in the top three – it seems that there is a new contender for the podium. The supertalent got another promotion, but his team is not in the best shape – is the debut doomed? And who is the best among the middle peasants now? After all, five teams showed up in the style of “we are exactly in the middle,” but she and the points in each race are not enough for everyone!
Will Verstappen take a third title in a row?
After the first championship in 2021, Max Verstappen turned into a racing terminator, and Red Bull coped well with the new regulations. Now No. 1 is churning out better victories than Hamilton in the best years of Mercedes: in 2022, Max broke the record for the number of first places in a season – he raised it from 13 to 15 pieces. Will Verstappen continue to dominate? All the prerequisites are there.
Authoritative publications – for example, Auto Motor und Sport and The Race – analyzed the pre-season tests and recognized Red Bull as the absolute favourite. Experts are confident in the superiority of the champions and the racing pace, and qualifying. Moreover, their main competitor – Ferrari – did not look like a real threat: German journalists believe that Scuderia is inferior in racing speed not only to Red Bull, but also to Aston Martin – and with unresolved problems with tire wear (from this “red “suffered last season) and also Mercedes with Alfa Romeo.
So far, everything looks as if Verstappen will again have no competitors. But at the beginning of last year, the same was thought about Ferrari, when Max was more than 50 points behind Leclerc – and Charles was already 146 points behind at the finish line. “Formula 1” loves surprises, and Charles does not change the goal in the form of a title and is waiting to win back the backlog .
Hamilton back to win?
“Mercedes” failed last season and instead of victories with pole position rejoiced at the podiums and races in the top five in the qualifications. Problems with the car and the results hit Lewis Hamilton and his ambitions hard: instead of a record eighth title, he got a season without a win – the first time in his career. And after all, even his partner George Russell managed to climb to the top step of the podium once.
Mercedes has retained the problematic concept for the new season. Although the car no longer bounces like it did last year, it still didn’t look like a championship car in the tests. Nevertheless, Hamilton tries to maintain a positive attitude:
“Last year we were in a panic: “What is the problem? Everything needs to be fixed!” And it took us forever to figure everything out. This year we start the season with a car that doesn’t bounce on the straights but is very similar to last year’s. But there are also positive moments. We have a solid foundation on which to build.
I also saw in the press talk about some kind of plan “B”. There is no plan “B”, it’s all nonsense. We live in a time of limited budgets. To redo the design and design of the car, you need to go back to the very beginning, we simply do not have time for this.
In the last words, the beginnings of despair are felt. Still, Hamilton is already 38 years old, and if Mercedes does not correct the situation in the next year or two, then the eighth title will remain a dream.
Will Aston Martin with Alonso justify the forecasts of experts?
After the pre-season tests, journalists unanimously started talking about the incredible progress of Aston Martin: Fernando Alonso kept setting good times (according to AMuS calculations, he even surpassed the pace of Ferrari driver Carlos Sainz in long stretches), so the Silverstone team is already recorded in the top 3.
The head of Aston Martin Mike Krak decided to bring everyone back to reality:
“The test race simulation definitely went very well. But do not forget that the conditions on the track were just excellent. There was a good layer of rubber on the track, because all the teams almost constantly used new tires, and the softest types of tires. When running a race simulation, this helps a lot. These results should not be taken out of context. As Fernando Alonso said just recently, there are no miracles in Formula 1.”
Nevertheless, Aston Martin has everything to surprise the peloton. The car was developed by the new (since last spring) technical director Dan Fellows: he came from the aerodynamic department of Red Bull, where he worked side by side with Adrian Newey for 15 years. Mike Krak also announced a program of active development and refinement of the AMR23 – approximately at the pace of 2022, when the green car surprised with constant changes and strong progress towards the end of the year.
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